Florence History of Florence Florence arose as a colony of the Etrurian town Fiesole in around 200 a.C around, and subsequently it became the Roman Florentia. Beginning from the IV century, the city passed through periods of Byzantine domination, Ostrogoth, Lombard and Frank. Around the X century, the town began its development, up to becoming itself an autonomous district in 1115. In the XII and XIII century, there were a series of political struggles, the fight between the Guelfis and the Ghibellinis. The Guelfis, sided with the Pope, whereas the Ghibellinis were on the German Emperor’s side. At the end of XIV century, the Medici family consolideted their power as bankers linked to the Pope. In 1434 Cosimo de’ Medici took power and became the patron of artist such as Donatello, Brunelleschi,Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi. The red lily is the symbol of Florence Cosimo de’ Medici The most famous representative of the Medici family, however, was probably Lorenzo, Cosimo’ s grandson. At Lorenzo’s court arts, music and poetry were magnificently developed; he was the patron of artists as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Thanks to him Florence achieved a certain importance in Europe, becoming a precious cultural center for artists. From 1949 to 1498, a Domenican monk, called Girolamo Savonarola,estabilished a Puritan regime,but in 1498 he lost the favour of the people and he was executed on the fire as heretic. The Medici returned to Florence in the XVI century, helped by a Spanish army and they held the power for the 200 following years. In 1737 the Medici dynasty died out, with the passage of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany to Francis of Lorena. His son, the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, was the first ruler in Europe to abolish torture and the death penality in 1786. A rare edition of the encyclopedia was devoted to him by Diderot e d’ Alambert. Subsequently, in 1861, the last Grand Duke was deposed after a plebiscite and Tuscany joined to the neoestablished Kingdom of Italy. Florence replaced in Turin as capital of Italy in 1865.In 1871 Rome became Italy’ s capital. Lorenzo de’ Medici Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo In the XIX century the population in Florence doubled, and it tripled in the XX, thanks to the growth of tourism, commerce, financial services and industry. Foreign communities arrived to represent a quarter of the population in the second half of the 19th century. The Romantic idea of this city as the centre of art dates back to this period; several villas of important families were left in inheritance to the city, above all English, with their eclectic collections of art, that today are real museums such as the Horne Museum and the Stibbert Museum. During the Second world war, the city was occupied by Nazi Germany (19431944). There was a strong and widespread Resistence against Fascism, which culminated in the insurrection of August 1944 and the following battle sustained by the Partisans for the liberation of the city (August 11th 1944). In November 1966 big part of the center was flooded by the rive, Arno, that damaged many treasures of art. This event had as a result an unbelievable chain of international solidarity, with thousands of volunteers from the whole world, included Edward Kennedy, called “the angels of the mud ”. Despite the various testified clashes in the history of Florence, our city has constantly welcomed foreigners and Florence is today about to be a Multicultural, ethnic reality and we hope that everybody will feel at home in this beautiful city. Florence during the flood of Arno Florence nowadays Main Monuments Santa Maria del Fiore, Campanile di Giotto, Battistero di San Giovanni, Galleria dell’Accademia, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio, Galleria degli Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, Giardino di Boboli. Santa Maria del Fiore The construction of the Cathedral of Florence began in 1296 and it is the fourth biggest church in the world. It reveals in its different parts different styles, to testify the variety of tastes given to the city by merchants and artists during its construction. Santa Maria del Fiore On the outside there are Romanesque reminescences, the interior is Gothic, the dome is Renaissance, while the façade is nineteenth-century. Various artists contributed; Giotto, Brunelleschi, Paolo Uccello, Andrea del Castagno and Ghiberti. The Cathedral has always represented the cultural and commercial centre of the city. Battistero di San Giovanni The Baptistery has an optagonal plan, and it is completely covered with slabs of white and green marble from Prato. Its three doors are the main attraction, they are all made of bronze: the southern door is by Pisano, the northern one is by Ghiberti and the eastern one is the most famous, because it represents the masterpiece of Ghiberti. The interior presents a dome covered with Byzantine mosaics. Campanile di Giotto Considered the most beautiful in Italy, Giotto started the bell tower in 1334, andit was finished by Pisano and Talenti in 1359. With its 84,70m, it is the highest testimony of Gothic Florentine architecture. It is completely covered with bicoloured marble. Galleria dell’Accademia Created in 1784 by the grand duke Leopoldo di Lorena, it gathers some of Michelangelo’s sculptures and some works of minor Florentine painting. It can be considered as a part of the Uffizi. The main Attraction is David and the Four Prisons, by Michelangelo. David, in front of Palazzo Vecchio, symbolized the freedom of the Florentine Republic, but during the past century it was transported to the galleria dell’Accademia, and replaced with a copy. Palazzo Pitti The palace was built in the fifteenth century, based on a project by Brunelleschi. The Medici’s enlarged it, turning it into a royal residence; finally, the Lorena’s built the two wings that occupy the place. In the Pitti Palace there is the Palatine Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Silver Museum, the Contini Bonacossi collection, the Costume Museum and the Coach Museum. Palazzo Vecchio Palazzo Vecchio was built at the beginning of the fourteenth century by Arnolfo di Cambio, as a centre of the Art Priors. In Palazzo Vecchio there are many rooms painted by Vasari, Buontalenti, Leonardo and Michelangelo. The Loggia de’ Lanzi overlooks the Signoria square; it was built in the 1380’s and collects statues such as the Rape of the Sabines and the Perseo, by Giambologna and Cellini. Palazzo Vecchio is, with Santa Maria del Fiore, the centre and the heart of Florence. Galleria degli Uffizi It is one of the most famous museums in the world, for its wonderful collections of paintings and statues, such as works of Giotto, Simone Martini, Pier della Francesca, Beato Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo, Raffaello, Michelangelo and Caravaggio. It was realized by the grand Duke, Francesco I. The Corridoio Vasariano is a hanging corridor, constructed in 1565 by Vasari, which links the Uffizi to Palazzo Vecchio and the Pitti Palace. Ponte Vecchio The first construction goes back to the Roman age, but it has been damaged many times by floods. The corridor is flanked by craftmen’s studios: each of them has only one window, closed by a wooden door. In the middle of the bridge there is a space without shops because of two panoramic terraces; the oriental one surmounted by the Corridoio Vasariano, the Western one houses the Cellini monument. Giardino di Boboli The Boboli park is situated behind the Pitti Palace. Its celebrity rose with the Medici’s, designed by Pericoli, who created his masterpiece of “green architecture” in Boboli. It has always been a model for all European royal gardens. Throughout the centuries it Has been enriched with works of Buontalenti, Ammannati, Giambologna, Tacca and Parigi. The Lorena’s changed some areas into English gardens typical of the Romantic age. Different cultures in Florence Florence boasts a historic heritage of the highest level, belonging to different cults and cultures such as Jewish, Catholic, Ortodox and Islamic cultures. All of them have been welcomed here. Convents, temples and monasteries rich in works of art, are extraordinary historic witnesses. The Jewish Temple and the Jewish cemetry The Jewish Temple is located in the historic centre of the town. With its green copper dome in Moresque style, it was built at the end of the XIX century; it's a very big temple decorated with numerous frescoes and mosaics. There is a tombstone on the wall as a constant remembrance of the 332 Florentine victims of the nazitascist cruelty. The Jewish cemetry is located just outside the ancient Renaissance walls of the town. It was in use until the end of the XIX century, when a new one replaced it. Lutheran Evangelic community and Muslims community At this time the first Lutheran Evangelic German-speaking community, settled in Florence and a new church was built for them near the river Arno. Because of this location, it was damaged during the second World War and the flood of the Arno in 1966. In order to favour the worship of the Muslims living in Florence, a Mosque has been built recently in the outskirts of the town. Its atmosphere is warm and friendly. English cemetry and “Degli allori” cemetry This burial ground is very old, in fact it was planned in the middle of the XIX century, when the town wasn't as big as it is now. Today, it stands not far from the town centre, in the middle of two avenues always full of traffic. In this cemetery many English people, who had chosen to live in Florence in the last decades of the XIX century, are buried. The most famous English woman who lived in Florence for a few years and who‘ s buried there is the famous poet Elizabeth Barret Browning. When this cemetery was closed to burials, a new Evangelic cemetery called "degli ALLORI" was built. It was designed in Gothic style and with the passing of time, it become so big as to host also Catholic tumbs.